Season 16 – Udinese, Serie B
Board Expectations: Attempt to Avoid Relegation
Players In: 3 for £10m
Players Out: 6 for £300k
Once the previous season was over and promotion was assured squad harmony took an upturn and it was more than enough to convince me to stay.
I was given a small transfer budget of £10m which I really doubted would be enough but survival was the aim of the game and I felt that the right type of players could definitely make that happen.
With that in mind I made two marquee signings. A goalkeeper and a striker.
Our man between the sticks in the previous season had done superbly but he was still a teenager and needed time to develop so an experienced Brazilian from Flamengo (moptop) was signed as a temporary measure on frankly ridiculous wages but he was such an improvement and it was only short term.
My second signing was another older player (Bangs) with a wonderful history of goalscoring, albeit mostly in the Dutch league. Again though he was a major step up from what we already had but at 32 he was again another short term measure. Frankly though we didn’t have time to develop prospects, we needed to stay in the division.
So down to business and our first game of the season was Milan away where we got a fantastic draw which was followed by a win and a draw against Parma and Roma respectively. It was sadly all down hill from here. Moptop got injured for four months and barring two draws I lost the next 15 matches.
No matter what I did I just couldn’t turn things around and my strike pairing of curly and flat-top just weren’t up to it at this level, heck they weren’t exactly sharpshooters in tier 2 and so this poor form continued until the New year and Bangs return.
His return proved to be the turning point we needed as we managed to pull ourselves out of the relegation zone by March but it proved to be a false dawn and we lost our last three games to confirm relegation.
It had been fun in Serie A, albeit in the most frustrating of ways. I’d spent the previous season with squad in-fighting and general squad difficulties but this year the team had really pulled together but just hadn’t got the results.
We had taken a few great scalps along the way, but the quality just wasn’t there. I’d lived my dream in Serie A and I decided it was time for a change and duly handed in my notice. I was down but not out and this season would live long in the memory.
It was another long wait until the right job came around, I’d been offered a few top flight jobs but after my relegation from my one and only season I didn’t feel like I’d earned it.
No jobs that took my interest came up over the summer and I had to wait until November for a position that really seemed suitable. Of course two came along at once. Bochum in 2. Bundesliga and Palmeiras in the Brazillian Serie B.
Both teams were very similar, similar in fact to Udinese. Former top flight clubs fallen from grace. It was really hard to choose between the two but Palmeiras had the hugest squad I’d ever seen. Nearly 100 players and I didn’t have it in me to sort through it so it was off to Germany for me.